Call No.1, received during Pharmaniaga’s Monthly Assembly on my last day there
“ Assalamualaikum, Along ke ni?”
“ Ye Along ni, sapa ni ya?”
“ Pak Long ni, Ni…Mak Long Mariah dah takdak dah…”
Call No. 2, received approx 15 minutes later
“Along, balik skaranglah ya Along?”
“Skarang? Naik flight ke Bah?”
It was a really weird day actually. For one, I was actually looking forward to have my meeting with the MD so that I can say thanks to him for everything. Alas, I did get to do so albeit under such rushing conditions, definitely not what I had in mind…within a few minutes, Kak Maziah was already on the phone and Zain was ready to send me to the airport, pronto. My flight was scheduled to depart from KLIA at 1:55 pm and after the fastest goodbye to everyone I’ve ever done, I was in his Lancer Evo car, speeding along the highway at 210km per hour! ( wait, I hope there’s no cop reading this!). The ticket pulled me back by 349 ringgit but honestly, this was not a time to be miserly at all.
Call No. 3, Platform A6, KLIA
“Along ke? Ni Kak Long ni…Kak Long kat bawah TV kat A06 ni”
And she was there. From what I know, she took an earlier flight from Johor to come to KL and luckily enough, her hotel where she was working is next to the Senai Airport. My cousin seems calm enough though deep inside, I can tell that she was keeping her emotions to herself. The flight took 55 minutes and upon arrival, my dad was waiting to pick us up to my late aunt’s home, next to mine. My mom was already there and upon seeing me, sobbed inconsolably as she remembered just how minutes earlier before her death, she was talking to her like always, never realizing what was coming. Then, I saw my aunt’s body. By this point, my cousin’s emotions were too much to take. She wept beside her mother’s body and despite some of the elders advice against it, nothing could be done to stop her.
I left the house soon after, changed and went to the graveyard where it was already beginning to rain. Using a parang, me and my dad used it to cut some bamboo and used it to make a small shelter for the grave. It wasn’t easy at all, but in the end we made it. My aunt’s body arrived at the graveyard at around 5:10 and it was then up to me, my dad and 2 of my uncles to lift her up. Truth be told, I was really nervous to do so at first, fearing that my lack of experience would cause the simple loincloth at the bottom of the coffin to make way. Then, I also had the task of lowering the body into the grave. Despite some complications (my thigh was stuck under the coffin for a while) and after using balls of clay to keep her facing the kiblat, we began to bury her. Only then did I realize just how tiring this ordeal really is and so we took turns to cover her up. In the end, the Talkin process began and with firm reminders of what was waiting soon after the burial for the soul of the departed one; one cannot help but feel immense fear of what could possibly lay in store for me once my time is up. Wallahualam…
Farewell Mak Long Mariah, and may Allah have mercy upon your soul. Amin…
Mak Long Mariah bt. Mahmud
Born Friday, 14th of August 1959 - Passed Away Friday, 14th of August 2009
(yes, she was exactly 50 years old)